Friday poll: How much food storage do you have?

How much food storage do you have?

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Please feel free to offer any food storage tips in the comments below…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. anthony m says:

    I just did a recent calculation. I think we would be able to eat for three months on packaged foods and eating the full recommended serving of 3 meals a day. The three months is without dipping into the grains. If we stretch it out with grains and decrease the servings without affecting our health we should be able to make it six months. I am aware that we will probably be faced with getting tired of the food. I hope to be able to trade with my immediate neighbors for garden produce. I will have to be aware of opsec when doing this. I have not counted the multitude of organic and non-organic seeds and the garden and the perennial food sources(rhubarb, raspberries, pears, elderberry, asparagus, dandelions, thistle roots, cocklebur roots, cattails). I also have a berkey water filter system I trust and have a rain cachment system.

  2. I have about 6 months worth for myself and a few other people if we ration. I should add more but storage space is limited.

    Based on the number of ‘moochers’ (people who I cannot turn away for various reasons) that I may have to care for, that’ll dwindle unless I find more storage space and stat.

    • Some potential ideas for space, although not enough for a years worth are:

      Clear out the dust bunnies under beds, and store food in those under bed plastic boxes

      replace coffee table and end tables in your living room with big storage boxes or barrels filled with food, and covered with a piece of plywood cut to the shape you want and a pretty cloth covering (and maybe a doily)

      Same thing for bedside tables.

      If you own the home, you might want to consider making a pantry within your wall (there are instructions on the web). Sure, it’s narrow, but it can hold quite a bit of canned food.

      • Good suggestions! I have some old clothes and sheets under the bed that i never use and I’ll replace them with food in those plastic bins.

        I do own my own home, and I’m planning on finishing the rest of the basement. I bet I can come up with some good and relatively hidden storage spaces.

        • Sw't Tater says:

          You may need those cotton sheets or old clothes for bandage material..beware what you throw away, you may have to buy another replacement for it.Maybe you can roll it, or put it in a vacume bag to reduce the space it uses.

          • Here is a thought on storing extra sheets until needed. Fold them so they lay flat on the box springs under the mattress. They will be accessible if needed but out of the way until then.

      • Seeuncourt says:

        Line an outer wall with as much foam insulation board as you can (2″ is good) and an outer house wall becomes a “cold storage” location. Food keeps at around 40 degrees all winter, even when its -35. Tip: Don’t use the wall that receives the prevailing wind unless you want frozen food storage!

  3. Five years for everyone in my group. Plus charity. Working on stores for two new.
    However, I would not want to merely live off of theses stores. I have a very large seed collection. I intend to eat fresh foods and supplement with the stored foods.

  4. I recommend storing some of your wheat in plain food buckets without the Mylar lining so that the wheat seeds can breathe (I always freeze my “live” wheat 72 hrs first to kill any insect eggs). Sprouted wheat is a tasty alternative to salad greens and can be added to a stir-fry as a raw green vegie. Sprouted wheat is a welcome change when the garden is not producing fresh greens and you get really tired of canned and dehydrated vegetables.

  5. hvaczach says:

    I put about 3 month’s worth but with a little supplementing what I have and a little tightning of the belts we could push to six month’s I think. When the garden really starts coming in and after deer season this fall it will certainly go up some, as we can so many pounds of deer meat every year, and will put up tons of spagetti sauce, canned potatatoes etc yet this summer.

  6. Had about 1 year worth for me and the wife. I say had because I’ve had to move a lot of it from it’s nice temp controlled resting place into some uncontrolled areas and not sure how it is going to fare.

  7. worrisome says:

    I have a good 2 year here and another 2 years up at the BOL. We are in okay for at least 8 people. But when I get settled up at the BOL, should time allow, we will increase that to three years for 12 at least. That is the goal. And on some of the products we are already there.

  8. If you count my 12 dogs and 24 cats, I’ve got a lot. Does anyone know how to cook a Parrot? Just ask’n

    Not sure, maybe 2-3 years worth. Depends on the garden and if the heirloom seeds sealed in nitrogen #10 can will sprout? Also how many we’re feeding as well.

    The way I look at it, The Good Lord provided what I have now, and He will decided what to provide in our future.

    • Very true and He is the best prep to have.

    • JP in MT says:

      Cooked Parrot – Smaller “beer-can” cooker?

    • Seeuncourt says:

      I have 5 parrots. I’ve contemplated roasting each one, especially the talkers, on a spit at one time or another! Probably tastes like chicken!

      • I’ve had cooked parrot, and it does taste a little like chicken, just a bit tougher. I’ve also had dog and cat, and from experience, they taste a lot like what they’ve been fed. They’re also tough and stingy, like most predatory animals. From a practical standpoint, it’s best to stew them. I know a lot of pet owners just put me on their “get that guy first” list, but other countries at the time and all. My pets are personally last on my list of menu items.

        • JeffintheWest says:

          Hey if you get hungry enough, Fido definitely starts looking like a possible menu item. And trust me, if you aren’t thinking about eating him, he’s probably thinking about eating you by that time!

        • Steve,
          I’ve heard that Parrot tastes a lot like Bald Eagle.

          • JeffintheWest says:

            That’s funny, I heard it was similar to Spotted Owl….

          • Buahahahahaaaaa! You guys…….are hilarious.

            Steve…So NOT judging. I have eaten a lot of different kinds of meats too.

    • I just finished reading “One Second After” and by day 35 they were eating their pets!! Book was quite an eye opener.
      We have 6months of food and that doesn’t count what we could supplement with the garden or hunting. Our 12 chickens add eggs to our diet.
      We have 2 months of food for the 4 dogs (and one three legged cat) and 2 of the dogs are good hunters themselves so they would supplement with squrrils/rabbit.

      But after finishing “One Second After”,,,,,,we need more food stored.

      • R-Me;
        I try to keep 8 to 10/40lbs bags of dog food in storage, yes it is rotated. The hardest is cat food when the neighbors do not neuter their cats, especially the Toms. I end up feeding more than my lazy brood(all fixed). I would like to have 10 to 14 bags ahead at any time, but it is just not happening. My barn is not large enough to store10 to 15 tons of hay for one year of feeding, yes they are also spoiled. We do not have irrigated pasture, only what mother nature supplies.

        • I have a shed with a covered area where the tractor goes and we store 10 round bales there, our pastures are watered by mother nature too,, and this year she has been very generous!
          I worry about keeping too much dog food on hand since I know it will go rancid from the fat content even though we rotate all food stocks, and certain products we keep in the house because it is climate controlled.
          Since our cat only has 3 legs (surgery from a birth defect) he lives in the house and we don’t get too many strays because of the dogs. So that one is the only one I plan to feed. And like yours, all our critters are fixed! And spoiled!

  9. riverrider says:

    i suspect a lot of folks estimate too high on their storage. we need to do the math. it takes a lot more food than most of us realize. i used the estimator on the ee website, very helpful, and eye opening. thanks to that i really upped my storage over the winter. best way to build quickly is superpails, then add the means to make it edible over time. jm2c.

    • ConcernedCoupleInWY says:

      Yes actually counting calories is critical. We’ve created a spreadsheet and everything we consider food stores goes into it down the last ounce and each ounce’s calories are calculated out. Currently we have 4.4 million (yes million) calories stored away in long term (25 year+ shelf life) which gives our group of 10 people 225 days of food at 2000 kcals a day. This is as low as we’re willing to go on a per day calorie count and even that is low as people doing hard work can easily consume 3000 calories a day to stay healthy.

      • Judy, another one says:

        Amen on looking at the calories! After cooking up 1 pound of the legume and grain combination that was suppose to feed a family of four for a year. I said, “No way will this feed a family of four for two days much less one day!” After doing more research the WHO’s Fameal is one and a half pounds per person per day of this combination or three what is issued. So if you are thinking that 165 pounds of legumes and grains is going to feed your family of 4 for a year, dig out a cup/half pound, cook it up and see for yourself. I’m glad I did!

        As a side note: an observer noted that there was plenty of food issued but no fuel to cook the food with. So do you have the means to cook what you have stored?

        • Judy, another one says:

          Oh by the way, this stuff cooks into a gruel that doesn’t look very appetizing but tastes okay per the instructions. I cut the water way back and added the individual bean and grain types based on their cooking times, the dish looked and tasted a lot better to me. I thought the best results were when I cooked the rice in one pan and the rest of the grains-n-beans in another pan. Then combining everything like a biryani to serve.

      • WYO Ryder says:

        HELLO Neighbor !! 🙂

        We have 6-9 months supply of canned, FD & dehydrated food for our immediate family of five, but I am planning on supplementing with my garden, wild game & fishing which will hopefully keep us in 2,000 cals per day for several years.

        If the expected extended family make it up to us (out of Denver area), then we the supply will be reduced by half. I need to get busy(ier)!

        If I were as prepared as Mama J I would feel a lot better!!

    • RR,
      I suspect I probably have more than I think. I do not count calories but judge my stores by what my people eat now and stay healthy. My methods are not scientific but it works for me.

      My grown son who does physical labor all day is 6’1″ weighs 200 lbs. A lot of muscle. He has weighed the same for the last 8 yrs, so I figure this is what he requires. Another son who is the same height but build more slim.175 lbs. Perfectly healthy.
      I store for them what they eat all day. 3 protein servings, 6 veggies and fruits, 3 dairy, 3 starches or carbs. Drinks. All of our group likes water so even though we have flavored drinks stored we do not have to have them. Well. I NEED my iced tea. LOL. I don’t eat a third of what the boys do. Even though I work all day on a farm.
      Example, I know that a quart of canned meat (fatty protein) is enough to feed two to three men in a meal for hard labor. A pint for two girls or 4 children.. Stews and soups can stretch meat, but I don’t need to at this point.
      I store dry goods by the pound listed on the LDS charts. 1.5 times the recommended to allow for spoilage or rodents. From experience, this is a good number for us.
      As to space you are correct. I have a 16×30 pantry building with 8 ft ceilings. It is full. That is half. I don’t want to lose everything if something happens to that building. I also have some in an enclosed trailer to hook up and leave if needed.
      You should have seen the mess my house was in before we built that pantry.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Those of us who don’t have a pantry building and store, know, how much- space. food storage items can take.

    • RR,
      I used the LDS food storage calculator and then added a bit.

    • southside says:

      I have been lurking for about a year and seldom post, but this is a subject that has me scatching my head. Every time I try to really get a good estimate of what I will really need it seems I come up with a different figure. I am a farmer and run a small fresh produce operation. We can a great deal and eat out of the garden exclusively for 7 or 8 months a year, This supply of fresh food makes it very hard to estimate what I would really need if it were to become unavailable for some reason.You refered to an estimator on the EE website . I give up,what site is this? Sounds like it could really help me. thanks

    • What is the ee website?

  10. Just starting out here. I have about a month’s supply of food for 3 – 4 people. That includes what is currently in the fridge and freezer which would be the first to be eaten. I have a question for y’all, as a newbie, how do I need to store the dry goods to last as long as possible without any special stuff? Or do I need to obtain some special stuff: vacuum seal thingy, mylar bags, pressure cooker? So far my food stores are mostly canned and packaged food from the grocery store that we eat regularly. I am purchasing two if one is needed this week thereby having an extra in the pantry. I also have dry beans, rice, pasta, etc.
    Thanks for any advice and help y’all pass along. I and my family appreciate it.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      That’s the way I started as well..I try for five or 6 like items per week, especially if they are 1$ for the sales! Shop off peak hours, mid morning, after they have done the markdowns for the day..
      .Get the regular 5 gallon buckets,/with lids. from walmart on shelf, wash them,(get hot hands from sporting goods,get a dozen or so) and put everything you put in them in TWO bags. If you have a bakery and can get buckets from them you do not need to bag items. Self rising flour will loose it’s rise after 8-9 months, so store extra baking powder.(freeze, or vacum pack.)
      .25 lbs of spaghetti will store in a five gallon bucket.35 lbs of flour(if you pack it.) 35 lbs of sugar. Once a month I try to freeze everything I have bought that month, for storage. and secure it for long term.
      2 gallon plastic buckets can be secured from bakeries as well..they work well for small shells, rotini, instant potatoes.and oatmeal and.Dehydrated fruits( I buy the 6 oz packages from a dollar store or wally w.for variety, coconut and raisins, prunes work well do put in a vacume bag.Hard candies, butterscotch, peppermint..lemon drops, are good morale boosters and should be packaged in snack sized bags, for long term storage.
      ..freeze dry goods(everything but sugar)for five days, get oxygen absorber, (hot hands will work) I use three of the hand warmers in a five gallon bucket.shake them to activate- put them throughout bucket, close lid, and seal with duck tape, about three rounds, all overlapping,…get good quality tape, not cheap junk. I also store extra alum free baking powder in the freezer. I place in a zip lock..
      When I pack pasta, I have started packing spaghetti sauce mix,taco seasoning and chili mix packets.. and alfredo mix’s in the same bucket, some might want to include black pepper and salt …It will reduce the amount of pasta , by a pound or so..
      I find that It is easier if I have as many things as possible to prepare a meal in one bucket.Then all I have to have is a little meat…for two, 3 oz of dehydrated hamburger, and a 8 oz can of tomato sauce and a 15 oz of diced tomatoes.serve with a can of string beans.
      You definitely need the tools, they make it easier. be sure to get your water storage, and cooking methods, squared away. Tools you need use of include a pressure cooker 4 qt, for cooking beans and preparing meats..a dehydrator for dehydrating meats, making jerky and dehydrating fruits and veggies. and a pressure canner..and I definitely recommend some kind of vacume sealer device..
      You can put up food without a dehydrator, by using the car interior,in the summer, or making one out of found material. there are many video’s on u tube. jerky and other dehydrated meats can be made in the oven- if it will set at 160 degrees or below.a munsey oven can be utilized as well, with a personal fan to blow across and move the air and attention. the proper tools makes it easier. i reuse 2 liter cola bottles for water and rice storage. 1 gallon wine bottles can be used for this as well.-they hold about 8 lbs of rice or 6 lbs of pinto’s.
      Canned or filled milk, tuna, salmon and treet/ spam are all good items,, they often have long dates, and store well beyond those dates, as edible, tho the nutrition may be decreased. if your family will eat them.. Remember anything your family will not eat is not a bargain, unless you are planning on giving it to someone who will.
      Be sure to rotate any canned vegetables well, especially tomato products. Just figure out a system that works for you, and do it.
      Be sure to check the dates..peanut butter, 3 large jars of your family’s favorite, with 6 jars of assorted jellies/ jams. Re use the jars, protecting the inner rings, they can be used to store dehydrated foods in(with a hot hands, to remove air), they will reseal. When you dehydrate your food, the urgency to rotate is not as urgent, because they keep much longer, when kept dry and dark.3-5 years..and longer, depending on fat content. Hope this helps you..

    • Bam Bam says:


      To really increase your food storage in a cost effective manner, check out the LDS Online Store. They sell staples (oatmeal, rice, ,etc.) in #10 cans. And they sell at cost.

      Here’s the link:

    • Sw't Tater says:

      I found it helpful to go to a big box warehouse to buy rice, by the 50 lb bags, it was bulky, difficult to move, but it got that item done quickly. for about 19$ a bag.(.I don’t know the price now).2 bags will go in three 5 gal. buckets, with a little space left over in one, (buy an extra five finish filling./or place 1/2 lb salt or 2 lbs of sugar in each can in bag)
      .100lbs rice=40$, buckets to store,free-5$ each, depending on your source.Hot hands to remove oxygen about 5$ total costs 100lbs rice,45$ using free buckets.

      • Sw’t Tater,
        Are you using Mylar bags in the buckets? If not, the storage life of the food will be shortened significantly, since the buckets are gas permeable, meaning that they let oxygen slowly sift through the plastic at the molecular level. Also, make sure you are using food grade buckets.

    • Susy;
      Hello, you found one of the best places for knowledge. There are so many great minds here we must all be related.
      First only buy what you eat and only eat what you buy. It stops you form buying items that set on the shelf you think you might eat and then do not.
      2nd a vacuum seal machine with the jar attachment is a good beginning, you will find that there many foods you can put up with in the bags and jars.
      3rd mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, Emergency Essentials has a video on how to use them.
      4th)pressure canner, not my expertise on this matter. I have never have the opportunity to use one. But you should learn to use a water bath canner for pickles, jams it will teach you the beginning basics of canning procedures. How to prepare your jars lids and keep the work space clean. You can purchase bulk canning lids through Lehman’s, reusable lids from Tattler. The Tattler company have specials so watch for them, they will do a sample package. They work great, I used the regular and wide lid on my pears when I canned last year.
      You are one the right track, any other questions just let us know.

    • Susy,
      You are on the right track so all it takes now is time and some more reading. Always remember the preppers motto, “Store what you eat, and eat what you store” as a starting point. Most canned goods will keep for at least 2 years when kept cool and dry, so by can copying (buy two to replace everyone you use) you will build up a supply of things that you already eat. Grains like rice, and grain related products, like Ramen noodles, should be placed into the freezer for at least 72 hours to kill off any insects or eggs that might be in the product. Someone mentioned the LDS online store, which is a good place to start, but you should also see if there is an LDS storehouse & cannery in your area, and find out what their policies are on non-church members using the facility. The one local to me has no problem, but does require an appointment.
      As you start to acquire more long term storage goods like rice, dry beans, etc. You will eventually want to learn how to pack with Mylar, Buckets, and O2 absorbers, but to start out with, simply do the freezing and then store the items in an airtight sealed container in a cool and dry area.
      Finally, if you plan to have a garden, or long term stored goods like rice, beans, wheat (for flour) etc, you will want to start using them right away and replacing as you go. Making sure you have the correct tools and skills to use basic ingredients is best done before you are in a pinch, and before you find out that some family members don’t like or can’t tolerate certain foods. You might at this point also start looking into dehydrators, pressure canners, vacuum sealers, and the like, depending on what your resources and plans are.
      The important thing is that now you have gotten started, and going down any path first means taking that deep breath, and taking the first step. Welcome aboard.

      • Thank you Sw’t Tator, Bam Bam, Becky and Ohio Prepper for your responses. I realize I am going to need some storage tools, but I think I am starting out ok from your responses. I ready keep my flours in the freezer as I purchase 25 lb bags from Sam’s to save $$. I bake alot. As far as I can tell there is not an LDS store in my state, so online ordering from them is my only option. I am reading lots of terrific info on this site — there is just soo much of it to get through and take notes on. I started out by going through the 10 thingt to do now just to see how many I might already have around the house (about 3), so I am now trying to fill in those gaps as well as learn as much as I can reading.

  11. Not tellin’, but it’s not enough. Certainly not enough food to share. Anything I add now will be dehydrated, due to space / weight / faster to hide if necessary. The dp and I both have problems with eating freeze-dried anything that has onions or garlic. I do have OP seeds, including hull-less oats. Some ornamentals are edible. Have enough wild foods in area that will help with nutrients beyond just taking vitamins.

    64-oz Snapple bottles starting to look real attractive and the seal tape / PumpNSeal will handle. 2-L soda bottles next up for rice (not brown, though).

    Many places to store thru the house, but the dp flat out will not allow anything upstairs.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Don’t those snapple bottles have a large mouth about like a gatorade bottle, I have activated hot hands, and placed them in those. I needs to be against the side of the mouth, so when it goes cold you can shake it again and feel if it gets hot. seal with duck tape after screwing lid down tight.

      • Sw’t Tater,
        Although the hot hands work for the smaller bottles, they are overkill, and over cost for the job. You might look into getting some 100 CC O2 absorbers, and in the long run you will save money.

    • What is a “PumpNSeal” please?

  12. Donna in MN says:

    I have 6 months of human food, working on 6 months of dog food for 3 dogs now, and vittles from my garden and the wild will extend my human storage. My closets are full of food now, and the guest room will have to carry 300 lbs of dry dog food. Most dry dog food doesn’t last more than 6 to 8 months so I will have to buy more and rotate their food.

    • Donna,

      I was just about to warn you about the rancidity factor in dry dog food, but you had it covered. I used to use a mail order brand from Flint Hill but my vet recommended me away from it. A lot of her patients were feeding their pets with it an many were having issues with it.

      I’ve been giving considerable thought on how to bake my own kibble minus the necessary fats. Those can be easily added with a table spoon or two of canola oil. It gives all the omega 3s they need and is fortunes less than stuff you buy in pet or feed stores. Flax seed oil works too.

      • Hunker-Down says:


        Please post your fatless kibble recipe when you finish it. We have some commercial dry dog food in vacuumed glass, but are concerned about how quickly it will turn rancid due to the fat content.

        We tried to bake some about a year ago and made some really small, really hard, ugly looking marbles.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        I buy one 50 lb bag of joy special meal per year for our small breed dog. I also freeze it, and store it like flour in food grade bucket. It keeps well the whole year.and the place where I store his food is not cool, ‘cept in winter..I haven’t found a way to do the cats food ahead that far…they may have to begin hunting ..old they be.

  13. I have about a years worth if calculating by total calorie numbers. Now how long I can make well balanced, nutritious and meals that you would want to eat maybe six months. After that it would be just to survive , beans and rice and more bland meals. I need to get more dehydrated/freeze dried fruits and vegs to make more rounded out meals and some actual things that would be more normal meals. This also depends on a lot of factors, rapid shtf with not power and I would lose about 2 months of food in freezers. Slower collapse with power I would last longer.

    I think the one thing is you can probably never have enough,

  14. Well I don’t count calories. I don,t use the freeze dries stuff my 2years is based on jars of canned stuff. We eat off the older stuff an replace with new . Post SHTF my diet want change much. All things are in rotation at all times.
    Now by the time 2 years has past verity my have gotten skimpy but I would still be eating.

  15. Judy, another one says:

    Depends on how may people I would be feeding. A group of four? Three months of a wide variety of tasty meals. Six months would still have some variety but would now be heavy on the vegetarian (beans and rice). One year would be a hit-n-miss and very boring with a lot of anxious waiting for the garden to come in.

  16. Winomega says:

    I have no clue how long my food storage will last. Considering that I don’t remember the last time I made a proper trip to the grocery store either, one month is probably very conservative.

    I’m going to be hurting if it’s a sudden long-term power outage. Most of my shelf-stable is beans, rice, and pasta. And I haven’t tested any way to cook without power anyway.

    Does anyone know a volume conversion if you dehydrate eggs yolk and white separately?

    • Sw't Tater says:

      I am thinking two teaspoons of each white and yolk, with one tablespoon of water would be real close to a medium egg.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Look on U tube for solar ovens, need tinfoil and black background, crock to cook in….soak both beans and rice before cooking for shorter cook time…

  17. Momturtle says:

    3 years for 4 people if we eat nothing but what is in storage. Also have all the means to cook it in a variety of ways. Of course, we also have a huge garden, orchard that is coming on to bearing, other fruit, nut and berry plants as well as the knowledge of how to eat just about everything in the yard. Still planting more trees, bushes, herbs and vines. Have to figure that people at hard labor (which homesteading w/out power is) required a boatload of calories to function properly. If we have to feed others . . . if they want to cut firewood and work in the gardens, we can discuss that as well.

  18. Bam Bam says:

    I have a year’s supply for five people or two and a half years for just my dh and I. That’s by the EE calculator and it only includes food in #10 cans. I have about another six months of food in home canned foods and foods purchased from the grocery store. I have put emphasis on making our long term food edible. Has anyone tried plain oatmeal? Yuck. It takes a lot of work to turn staples into good food, and then to store enough to last a couple of years. I am having a hard time rotating through all my store-bought food. I have no problem eating certain things past their expiration but foods banks won’t take them.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Bam Bam,

      We have a lot of rolled oats and are working on long term additives to make it tasty. This year I dehydrated and ground strawberries, then vacuumed them into glass jars. Nine pounds of berries ( one wet pound per Excalibur tray) ground into about 2 1/3 eight ounce jars. Your suggestion last week to use a coffee grinder is a winner, thank you.

      We just purchased some dehydrator sheets in preparation for dehydrating canned pineapple bits as another additive for the rolled oats. I’m waiting until we can buy 9 cans from Wally-W. I’m guessing that we can put one can on a sheet in the dehydrator. We got 3 cans last week but the DW snatched them from me before I could stash them in the basement.

      Here the sheets we bought. The reviews on the sheets are very contradictory, and we haven’t used them yet. They are not as heavy duty as the Excalibur sheets, but very close. There is a drastic difference in the price.

      • Bam Bam says:


        I am glad the coffee grinder worked out for you. My dh and I are pretty boring with our oatmeal. I put up apple butter but we seem to use it and give it as gifts quicker than I can make it. I have ordered freeze-dried apple pieces and have lots of large two-packs of apple sauce from Sams. The two essentials for oatmeal for long term storage are honey and molasses–you can add molasses to white sugar to get brown sugar. I wouldn’t have a problem keeping molasses for three or four years in the rotation, even though the shelf life is usually listed as two years. And honey lasts forever.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      We eat oatmeal daily, I make it with olive oil or grape seed oil, 1 2/3 cups of dry oats, with the water required/ pkg instr.two tep oil, a sprinkle of salt, about 10 drops of splenda,. Yields two full cereal bowls… put in bowl to serve, sprinkle with one -2 tsp sugar and cinnamon. can use raisins/ prunes/ dried fruit of all kinds/ and or honey/ jelly/ jam/peanut butter, to change the flavor.. also sunflower seeds/ ..Cinnamon is cheap and my dh loves it..also same works with rice..when used as a cereal.

    • Bam Bam,
      Sugar & non-fat powdered milk both keep for a long time. Throw in some dehydrated or fresh fruits, and the oatmeal can be tasty. It also makes good cookies, and apple crisp.

  19. I said about 3 months but thats not entirely accurate. I have probably 6 months of beans and rice, which is something we tend to eat a lot of, maybe a month of canned protien, and probably about 2 months of of canned fruits and veggies. I have about 2 months of flour if I am baking as I do now but I really think that will go up, so I figure maybe a couple of weeks if I am lucky.
    I have probably a years worth of vinegar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, tea, and maybe sugar. And varying degrees of other stuff.

    My concern is water. There is just no way to store more than a week or two of water for my large group of people. And my closest body of water is salt water, and dirty at that.

    • TG,
      You just started and are doing well. You live in an area that gets quite a bit of rainfall, yes?
      A large tarp and some rain barrels will get you a surprising amount of water in a rain shower. That is if you do not have rain gutters. Food grade barrels are $44.00 at Walmart and can be found for free if you are lucky.
      Learning how to distill water would be good for you also. You have options.

  20. JP in MT says:

    Mine is currently based upon “serving” size, standardize. Understanding this is “pre-SHTF” numbers. I broke down each category, and estimated the number of servings per day in that category. Currently looking real good for just the DW and I. But if we get out of town, have some dirt, we can really expect 15-20. Many will be able to bring what they have, say another 3 months each.

    I also assume that there will be a goodly number of “family” members (this includes extended family) showing up, once they realize that “Uncle J” is not the crazy paranoid they all think he is. They get a bucket and a boot.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      I have some ” for the bucket and boot” as well, and it will be not a bucket, but a sack and a boot, my buckets are not going anywhere!

  21. ladyhawthorne says:

    Considering my hours at work just got cut again, I guess I’ll have less than I thought soon as I won’t be able to add to the pantry.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      jobs are hard to come by. Don’t give up on yourself!
      Some of these I am able to do, but these are Here are some more tips, some you may want to do, some not…it’s up to you.. Do the cost cutting measures, make your own hamburger, tuna, chicken helper from scratch… use sales, quanities when things are on sale, or cheaper than buying small cans..( NOTE:.sometimes big cans are no cheaper per serving.check it out!). Maybe you can maintain without going into your stores.
      ….. Change a full meal to a nutritious snack
      . ..cut store bought whole milk with water, two cups milk , add one cup water, (I do this with my lactose free milk),or mix half strength powder milk and add that at same ratio.shake well, chill.
      Bake bread from scratch.( cutting our bought bread to one loaf a week has cut our groceries by 5$/wk)
      I make drop eat with peanut butter ‘n jelly
      ..,cook rice/oats daily for breakfast, and sometimes fix high protein pancakes for supper.

      • ladyhawthorne & S’Tater;
        Hopefully this book will be in the library or you can find it used. How to Make a Mix, it teaches you how to make the base for 4 to 5 meals, then you add the other ingredients(all scratch)but here is the catch you can store this up to 3-4 months(before vacuum seal machines)which should extend the life of the mix. Meals, cakes, cookies, season mixes for gravies. Take a look worth adding to your collection or copying down the recipes.

  22. Encourager says:

    I THINK I have enough for 2 to last a year, if I can grow salad stuff indoors. If both sons are here, 6 months. Then will have plenty of salad greens, herbs, peppers as one son grows hydroponically.

    This is hypothetical. I really need to do a deeper inventory and I have some holes I already know about. I have gotten lax in prepping much to my dismay when I think about it. Other priorities, such as health problems, have taken over right now. For all I know, I have much more than 6/12 months worth, especially after canning season this year.

    I have used up probably 80% of my wheat berries. But I am on the fence about ordering more…thinking seriously of ordering Einkorn or emmer wheat if I can find a good source. I would then have to figure out how to dehull the outer husk…

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Encourager, I know what you mean, it is hard to estimate, when you don’t know the fuel you will require, how many people will be @ home, or whom I will need to assist. There are months we all need to take a step back and re-coup, for whatever reason..but the things we buy ,as a routine, if we have made this “putting by” as Granny used to call it,a standard. does add up when we stop and count.

      • Encourager says:

        I had to smile, Sw’t Tater, at your phrase “putting by” as I just dug my old, old “Putting Food Buy” out to make pickled beets. I forgot how long it takes to cook beets tender…an hour?? Wow.

  23. The results could be misleading since the question is too open ended. We have and planned for one year for four people. At the moment there are just two of us. Do I have one year or two? I answered one.

  24. DiscountPrepper says:

    I definitely don’t have enough…maybe a few weeks. Brand new at this so cut me some slack! =)
    Will be filling the 10 things to do now and 10 more things to do now lists this weekend.

    I have a question though about food storage. I get a lot of free rice (like Uncle Ben’s) in the box through my couponing that I do. Does anyone know of an easy way to store this to make it last longer than the one year listed on the box….same question for boxed pasta. I get so much of it for free I’d like to make it last as long as possible. help?

    • Winomega says:


      just keep the rice and pasta dry. Those are products where the experation date is quality control while stretching the imagination.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      How wonderful that you can get these base foods free! stock bullion in all flavors, sauce mixes, a half cup of dehydrated veggies..a few ounces of dehydrated meats for full meals.
      To store, Rice and pasta.. freeze for five days, to kill any larvae that may be in it..Put it in food grade buckets with hot hands. If you have ability to vacume pack it, then do so. If it has seasoning package in it, place it in too, be sure it has a label. pack the instructions with the sauce mixes. No buckets?You can use two liter cola bottles or clear juice bottles. I also put moisture absorbing packs from my supplements in as well as a hot hands…screw lid on tightly. seal with duck tape and label.

      • DiscountPrepper says:

        Swt thanks so much for the tip on bullion. I hadn’t even thought of that as a way to flavor all this rice. I did read somewhere it makes a good simple soup but hadn’t applied it to the rice and pasta. Adding that to my weekend list.
        And the storage tips are priceless. Now that sounds like a “use what you have” kind of tip that I can definitely do right now. Just put about 20 packages of rice and pasta in the freezer!
        And the cola bottle tip….never would have thought.

    • Bam Bam says:

      Discount Prepper,

      It’s good to see new people taking steps. M.D.’s “10 Things to Do Now” will get you started on the right path. This is good common-sense stuff.

    • hi. check backwoods home magazine’s ask jackie column and countryside magazine online. look under oven canning. jackie says it is really oven sealing. i use peanut butter jars and their lids which have a rubbery ring inside. careful of the ring when washing the lid.

      someone mentioned baking powder. instead store tartaric acid powder and baking soda. when mixed together it is baking powder.

      deb harvey

    • tartaric acid powder is cream of tartar. sorry i didn’t get it right. it comes from grapes and is the little hard bits you sometimes find in grape jelly.
      deb harvey

      • DiscountPrepper says:

        thanks for both comments. I’m definitely going to look up that website. we go through a lot of peanut butter around here so those containers are something i’ll definitely have handy.

      • cream of tartar and baking soda to make baking powder, how much of each one to make the baking powder?

    • DiscountPrepper,
      If you can store them in Mylar with O2 absorbers, the LDS order form lists both @ 30 years, again with proper (cool & dry) storage.

      • DiscountPrepper says:

        thank you Ohio….dry is not a problem….still working on the “cool” part….ugh!

    • Discount Prepper;
      I learned pasta does not like light…makes it turn brown and the flavor changes. I now put it in mylar bags with the zip lock top,and into fg buckets marked with type of pasta and yr. Rice I put in the freezer when I need more room, I vacuum seal the bag and part of the box with the instructions and it goes on the self or bucket. If it is brown rice you will have to use it up first it does not hold.
      One person on this site cooks the pasta and then dehydrates for quicker meals, might work on the rice. Give it a try and report back.

      • DiscountPrepper says:

        Becky, thank you for the tip on the pasta. I’ll definitely find some non-clear containers for that. I don’t have the knowledge or means to cook and dehydrate yet but i’ll definitely look into it. I like brown rice better but have focused on storing white because of the longer shelf life.

  25. I voted for six months for two people with the caveat that there is a sudden cessation of the electric/logistic/banking systems. Think absolute worst case as in an EMP event.

    What we have planned for is a collapse of the above systems over a period of weeks or a few months as in a societal collapse that eventually shuts down everything. In this scenario we will eat like royalty for 9 months and like paupers for a few months and then, oh well.

    I will be having the big seven oh soon and like many our age we are alive and well thanks to modern medicine and chemistry. We both take meds that when not taken regularly will have terminal effects. We have stockpiled at least 6 months of all prescriptions.

    All our planning is just that, planning. Other than no utilities twice for a few days and once for over a week because of hurricanes there is no way to predict. So we plan for the worst, hope for the best and know that if something can go wrong, it will. So we just keep on keeping on..,

  26. I only have 3 months worth, because that is as long as I can last without my medications. Of course if I am on dialysis at the time, then my survival time will be must shorter.

    • Harold Kirkpatrick says:

      I am not willing to put my inventory on the record due to all the talk about the NSA tracking email. Think about possable government confiscation ie the SHTF!
      Man on foot

      • Harold,
        I hope you are being silly and that isn’t our real full name. Also, If the NSA wanted your stuff they don’t need your list on this blog. They already know everything about you, what you have, where to find it, and how to get it. Put another layer of foil on your hat.
        We share information for learning purposes. I doubt the NSA cares one sh*t about our buckets of wheat and canned cheese.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Uncle Charlie, I hope you are monitoring your diet very carefully. that can limit or extend your kidney function significantly.

  27. JeffintheWest says:

    About a weeks worth, and much of that highly perishable. Hey, what can I say? I’m still living in the RV full time and moving around a lot. When the house is finally ours, THIS WILL CHANGE!!!!

    Until then, it is what it is….

    • Sw't Tater says:

      We have confidence you will get there! Planning and skills counts as well.

    • JeffintheWest;
      You might be on the poor side now….but in a few weeks you can go shopping at all those wonderful stores. Now is the time to go yard sale shopping for those canning jars and kettle.

      • JeffintheWest says:

        Yep — plus we have a lot of good items in storage back in NM — including a top of the line hand-cranked grain and nut grinder, my mom’s old meat grinder (also hand-cranked), and a whole lot of DIY books to help us get projects under way.

        Hopefully, by the end of September (when we get back from NM with our storage items and furniture), we’ll be getting next year’s garden ready to go and maybe even putting up a greenhouse! Plus, refitting the chicken house for some real, live chickens…. 😉

  28. Seeuncourt says:

    Counting the live preps, chickens, turkeys, sheep, cows, ducks, geese, eggs, etc. i also add game meat in season. I would like to find some jerusalem artichoke tubers to plant…does anyone have any they would be willing to ship me?

  29. RAlbert says:

    My wife and I have a little over 6 years of dehydrated, freeze dried, and canned food at 2 locations. I used the calculated calories to arrive at that number. By my math, we have about 10 million calories and about 7,000 lbs of food stored. Of course if just 4 other people show up then the time is reduced to a little over 2 years.

    The majority of the food is dehydrated in long term storage buckets. But we also have several year’s supply of vitamins as well.

    Then, of course, we have a lot of heirloom seeds to get the garden going at the BOL.

    We can food during season trying to put up more than we consume so our supply of more “tasty” food increases each year. We are still working on food from 2011 so it is looking good there. But I can seem to can enough of my apple butter to last more than a year, Yumm.

    We continue to rotate our stock and replenish / increase. Our goal is to have enough food to last for 10 years for at least 4 people. That way if we get a bigger group we should have enough food to last long enough to get our own food production going (garden, chickens, etc.).

    And one other thing we have stocked up on is sprouting seeds. This is very important because if SHTF happens in the winter then it could be six or eight months before garden produce starts coming in. Sprouted seeds will provide a lot of nutrition during this time.

    • RAlbert says:

      And one other thing; we do this while living only 20 miles from the White House in MD. Our BOL is in NC but our supplies are split in case we have to Bug In and hunker down.

      And of course, enough firearms and ammo to defend it all.

  30. Sw't Tater says:

    I am guessing a little more than a year./ for the three of us..and we would get tired of beans and rice.If an EMP happens..those away will not be able to get home..not physically able to travel/foot/distance.If economic collapse, we will have more family on our doorstep, they will have to work, to help with feeding us, either in summer or winter. There are free veggies we would be able to gather in season…and we have a small garden area.. We tend to eat things by seasons, and that allows me to build a supply of foods we are not currently eating. I am currently working on home dehydrated veggies and meats.,and building my pasta supply. I have nothing that is certified for 25 years…Pharma dependence is something we are working on, seeking alternatives for common age related conditions, with some successes…It is slow, but progress it is.

  31. Pineslayer says:

    I have to admit that I have just an estimate of what I have. I continually buy as much as I can, rotate, and try to eat my stores. I did have to pour out some canned milk after 3 years, it was brown but didn’t smell bad. It went into the garden beds, I am looking at 55 gallon drums to fill with salt. I hope to burn up a dehydrator this year too.

    • Pineslayer,
      We use a water softener and try to keep at least 1000 pounds of salt on hand. It’s not iodized, but there are other ways to get that nutruent.

  32. With a bit of rationing, I have food for 6 for just shy of a year. This includes the “ready” food in the pantry and fridge, plus what we’ve put away. We’ve gotten to where we can/dehydrate nearly everything, plus supplement with basics from ShelfReliance (hey, I’m a “dealer” so they get a plug). And when I say everything, I mean it! We’ve cleared out the chest freezer, canned everything we didn’t eat from the garden, and dehydrated even more. We’ve gotten to where we do this once every week, hitting the sales at our local Kroger’s, and processing all of it. Oh, and a tip I learned the hard way for storage: KEEP THE CANNING JAR BOXES! I threw so many of them away, storing the jars on shelves, and now I’m kicking myself. Putting the jars back in the boxes, with their dividers, makes storing them so much easier – just stack them! Seems simple, but I’d give a lot right now to get those boxes back. Renewable supplies are the garden, chickens, goats, etc. Very small levels, but enough for us and some surplus. In order to plan for a bad year, we also got several of the seed vault packages from Amazon, which we tested last year with good results. Our goal is two years, but like a lot of people, I’m running out of room!

    • Steve,
      I hear you on the box dilemma! I buy a lot of loose jars from garage sales and thrift stores that don’t have a box.
      The produce dept a the grocery store has heavy duty berry boxes that store jars nicely. They are only half as high a a quart jar but you don’t have to worry about the weight and they stack perfect.

  33. At this time it could be one years worth, but I put down 6 months just to get my back side into gear. It also depends on if I am feeding 2 or 6 mouths if it goes wacky. My biggest items in stock is coffee, tea, canned goods. Trying to disguise the food items into containers so they look like anything what they truly are.
    I would have tons of storage if it were not for heat in the summer time. It limits what I can put up and places to put it. Yes, I have it under the beds, and guest closet.

  34. k. fields says:

    Commercially packaged cans especially made for long-term storage – Two years worth for 2 people if they eat what I eat – one set above ground and one below.
    Lightweight backpacking foods – One month for 2 in each of 3 caches.

    Although my place is somewhat self-sufficient and could go a long while without worries of re-supply (so long as the pigs, chickens and cows continued to reproduce), the weather here allows me to grow pretty much year around so I usually only put back enough to see me through the next harvest.The exception is home raised grains (corn, wheat and oats) – of those I keep about a year and a half worth back-up for myself and the livestock.
    Seed stock is saved from everything I grow so I keep 2 seasons worth (enough to plant, fail and re-plant) where possible.

    Of the things I can’t produce but keep on-hand;
    Spices, teas, baking soda, yeast, chocolate, etc. – About 2 years worth
    Coffee and wine – 3 years, maybe more

  35. MD,
    Once again I didn’t see the answer that fit, so I picked a years worth. In my case, it’s a years worth for 4 adults, so I guess for just one person, it would be more than 3 years worth.

  36. I said 1 year but, that comes with conditions. No greedy relatives showing up and getting a solar system up and running for my refrigeration.

    My goals are to get my supplies doubled, start a garden, learn canning and install a 600 watt system just for the refrigeration. I have three ways to cook my supplies if there is no power or gas… and water purification system if needed.

    I’ll be ready as long as the S doesn’t HTF until late 2014.

  37. hungry Rooikat says:

    We’ve got a nice beginner’s mix of stuff.
    My main problem/roadblock is the wife. She is new at this; whenever we get something, it always ends with…”and we are done now?”
    The biggest helper to my situation was Sandy, as bad as that sounds.
    That showed her how fast things went downhill, with such a relatively minor occurrence. Films of actual pirates in boats traveling local waterways, with no law enforcement hindering them, kind of shook her up.

  38. Patriot Farmer says:

    If I’m lucky I could get by for a month. I really need to stock more long term food.

  39. I find it a bit alarming that 72% of those who visit a prepping site, have 6 months or less of food set aside, and 41% have less than 3 months
    Since it has been estimated that only about 1% of the population prep at all, it indicates that there will be a lot of hungry people out there in a very short period of time.
    I know I’ve heard some preppers say they do not need to store food, as they will just go “take it”, it does not appear there will be that much to take.

    • Duck,

      “I know I’ve heard some preppers say they do not need to store food, as they will just go “take it”, it does not appear there will be that much to take.”

      You’re confused… these people aren’t preppers, but predators. And yes, I too am disappointed with the numbers and results of the poll.

  40. MD, you are correct they are not preppers, my bad

    I just guess most are not making food preps a priority, I know a friend who last year spent all of their prep money on medical and first aid, and when I ask her why she said incase someone gets sick or injured, I said that may happen, but everyone will get hungry

    Of our group I have the smallest income, but have still set aside 2 tons (slightly over) of food storage, in addition to medical, ammo, proper, clothing, tools etc

  41. Tomatogal says:

    Seeuncourt, I have jerusalem artichokes. They will not ship now, being in full-bore growing stage. I can send some to you in the Fall or next Spring…M.D.has my permission to share my contact info with anyone who would like some of these Very productive, invasive, now-a-perrenial -vegetable in one of my raised beds. You do get an incredible amount of “poundage” for the amount of tuber that you plant.

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